Swae Lee takes center stage at Bucknell Refresh


Photo Courtesy of Oluwasefunmi Oluwafemi

Bridgette Simpson, News Content Editor

Campus was buzzing with students as Bucknell Refresh was underway with 12 free food trucks, inflatables, a photo booth and other activities from Core and the Seventh Street Makerspace on Saturday. 

The Bucknell Campus Activities and Programs Center hosted the annual Bucknell Refresh, which concluded with a concert performed by Swae Lee, one half of the famous hip-hop/rap duo Rae Sremmurd, in Sojka Pavilion. 

“Last year, Bucknell Refresh was really successful,” Carole Beckhorn ’23, president of Core, said. “This year, we planned based on what people liked last year and from feedback we heard.” 

“We will often get feedback, and last year Swae Lee came up as a performer,” Brent Papson, Director of the CAP Center, said. “We had a really easy process with Swae Lee this year. He was great to work with, and accepted the offer right away.”

Getting an artist to come to campus is a lengthy process, Papson said — between the initial offer to the artist arriving on campus and performing, there are a lot of steps in between. 

“We have a middle agent that we work with on a lot of our concerts, and so we’ll go through our agent who represents Bucknell, and get us pricing and because they work with so many colleges and venues, they know what a fair price is,” Papson said. “We ensure that the artist is in our price range and available, and from there we send an initial offer letter and give them two weeks to respond… then, they send us their contract and we go back and forth and make edits. We also work with a company to negotiate production and things the artists ask for.” 

One of the highlights of the night was the lip-sync opening for Swae Lee from the Men’s Track and Women’s Rowing teams. 

Abby Malek ’24, a member of the Women’s Rowing team, shared her thoughts on the event. 

“We lip-synced “Yeah!” by Usher… and then we got beaded necklaces and at the end we threw them out into the crowd. So, we technically opened for Swae Lee,” Malek said.

Malek explained that she had found out about the idea of performing before Swae Lee the night prior at Bingo Blingo, and immediately jumped at the opportunity to rally her team for the event.

“It was really fun… I told my team we were doing this, because I didn’t even ask, I just told them, you know, ‘we’re doing this,’” Malek said.

Malek also talked about Swae Lee’s interactions with students, as after their performance the rowing team rejoined the other students for the concert from the floor. 

“He was taking people’s phones and taking pictures and making videos with them and stuff. He was doing that for a lot of people, and he loved our energy too, and was posting stuff on his Instagram story about being in Pennsylvania and at Bucknell,” Malek said. 

Malek’s final thoughts echoed the sentiment that the CAP Center was hoping for. “The music was really good, I think he had a lot of fun performing for us. I think a lot of people had a lot of fun,” she said.

Matthew Perello ’23, attended the concert with his roommates. 

“Swae Lee was surprisingly one of the most memorable concerts we’ve had on campus,” Perello said. “He was interacting with the crowd and being as personable as a rapper could be. He was so animated and lively. It felt like he was excited and wanted to be there which just added to the immensely vibrant atmosphere. Compared to the other concerts on campus, this, by far, was the best one.

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